194 'militants' held in 7 days
The weeklong special drive against militants ended yesterday with 17 suspected militants being arrested in the last 24 hours of the countrywide crackdown.
The home minister and inspector general of police term the drive successful as the police headquarters say it led to arrest of 194 suspected militants.
But former police chief Nur Mohammad thinks such a crackdown fails to yield any good result and causes harassment of innocents.
The police headquarters launched the drive days after Mahmuda Khanam, wife of Superintendent of Police Babul Akter, was hacked and shot to death in Chittagong.
On the first day of the crackdown on June 10, Nityaranjan Pandey, a 60-year-old volunteer of a Hindu monastery, was killed in Pabna.
On Wednesday, Hindu college teacher Ripon Chakrabarty was hacked inside his home in Madaripur.
Referring to media reports, ex-IGP Nur Mohammad yesterday said only a small number of the persons arrested in the special drive are criminals.
“Police should do groundwork and investigation before launching a special drive. You can't just arrest whoever you want. But unfortunately this is happening as we have failed to ensure accountability of police,” Nur Mohammad told this newspaper.
“When you are arresting someone on suspicion you should say why you are suspecting the person. Who takes the responsibility when thousands of people are arrested without specific charges and suffer?”
One good thing about such crackdowns is that the perpetrators remain on the run and their activities come to a halt, Nur Mohammad said. As a result, he added, law and order improves.
He further said lack of training, expertise and professionalism are also to blame for the failure of the drive against militancy.
Terming the recent targeted killings a new trend, he hoped police would put all their strength to stop the attacks.
Since the beginning of the drive on June 10 till Wednesday, 11,684 people, including 166 suspected militants, were arrested, according to a statement of police headquarters.
The police headquarters on Wednesday also said that “another special drive” to arrest wanted accused and arms and narcotics traders and users began on June 6 and ended on June 13. Police never had informed the media about this “another special drive” before.
There are reports of some errant cops being indulged in “arrest trade” in the name of the special crackdown. Some have allegedly released arrestees taking money from families.
About the anti-militancy drive, home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said it was meant to stop targeted killings.
“The drive is one of the means to stop targeted killing. We have arrested wanted accused, suspects and some identified militants,” the home boss told reporters at his residence in the capital.
He added, the process to arrest them began long ago and “We have been successful.”
Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Hoque said they had launched a drive against wanted accused, arms and drug dealers and all other criminals ahead of Eid like every year.
“Then in the wake of some incidents involving militants in Chittagong, Natore and Jhenidah, we launched another crackdown targeting homegrown militants,” he told BBC Bangla Service yesterday.
Replying to a query, the IGP said the arrestees include those who were directly involved in different banned militant organisations.
The number of arrested militants in the weeklong drive is big, he added.
He thinks the homegrown militants are not that much organised. “I don't think they will be able to carry out any massive attacks.”
“We have not found the organisations or who are leading the groups,” he said, adding that it's no big challenge.
The IGP also said not even 20 percent of the total militants arrested so far are from madrasas. They want to establish caliphate but some of the arrestees do not have a minimum knowledge about it, he added.